The impact of social media: How has it changed the world of business
In the last 10 years, social media has impacted our culture in a significant way. It’s changed how we interact, increased the speed of our news cycles, and most importantly, it’s allowed businesses to interact with customers in ways that weren’t possible before. Social media is a catalyst for change and has been responsible for recent and future technological innovations.
Social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s an awesome way for businesses and brands to connect with their customers instantly. On the other hand, it can be an overwhelming experience for new users who are trying to figure out what they should be doing.
How social media is changing the face of communication
Why do people like to share things online? When did we start liking to share things online? What led us down this path in the first place? The answer to all three of these questions is Skype. Before Skype, we didn’t really have a way for us to easily communicate with each other over long distances without having to meet up in person and talk about whatever it was that you were trying to discuss in detail.
With Skype, we were able to communicate with each other over long distances instantly. Sure, we still had to meet up in person and talk about what it was that we wanted to come up with in the first place. But at least you didn’t have to go through a huge ordeal like traveling across the country and talking on the phone for hours on end just to get a quick answer.
It used to be that businesses needed face-to-face appointments (meetings) with customers in order to sell them things. It used to be that people would call stores and complain about things they didn’t like without actually giving them a chance (called “complainers”). And it used to be that we had to wait for newspapers and magazines to get information about new products and services (this was before the Internet, after all).
But now, thanks to social media and smartphones with 5G connectivity, we have a medium through which businesses can interact with customers—and a lot faster than they used to. People are posting their ideas, questions, and complaints online almost instantly. So how do businesses use this to their advantage?
How social media is changing business interactions
Customer service via social media: What’s so great about having customer service interact with you via Twitter or Facebook? Well for one thing, you get an answer almost immediately when you need it. Unfortunately, some businesses still don’t get the idea of instant gratification. A lot of them have yet to realize that customers expect instant service.
When you have a customer support agent from a big business reply to one of your tweets or Facebook posts, it’s not just about the answer you get. It’s also about how much time it took them to respond and how they treated you as if they were talking in person.
Increasing your sales via social media: Social media is also great for getting people to talk about your business and what it has to offer—and increasing sales as a result of this new awareness. People don’t have to know your business all that well in order to start talking about it. In fact, they can share their opinion and thoughts on social media with a simple “like” or “follow” button if they just want to show that they like your business. When a customer does this, she’s sharing her thoughts on your brand. She’s giving you free advertising.
Increasing customer satisfaction via social media: Social media is great for getting customers to express their appreciation for your products and services as well. There are two things to consider here:
It can be difficult for people to actually reach out via social media with reviews about a product or service (for the most part). This is where businesses come in. If a company wants to get feedback about their business, they can ask for it online. And if a customer wants to give a business praise, the business can make it easy for the customer to do this. This way, customers don’t have to actually go out of their way to look for your product or service and then describe why they like it.
Social media and your business’s reputation: Does your company have good or bad (that is, positive or negative) reviews on various review sites?
You need to know this information right away. If a company has a poor or even negative reputation in the digital world, then they won’t be getting any new customers. They won’t be attracting new leads either.
In other words: When it comes to social media, you need to know what people are saying about your business—bad things, good things—right away. This will help you determine whether people like your brand, or hate it.
How to effectively use social media for business
Getting people to notice your business: If a potential customer happens upon your Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, and Facebook Page, how are you going to get them to see your business? The answer is simple: You need to be promoting yourself on these channels as much as possible. This means you’re going to have to take some time every day and make sure that you post certain things to keep people tuned in.
For example, let’s say you’ve built up a fairly large social media following on Twitter and Facebook. Now, you have a few friends who use your business’s services and keep coming back for more. Great! But do you know what’s better than having a whole bunch of people “following” or “liking” your business on social media? Having people actually visit your website.
So how can you get people to visit your website on a daily basis? The answer is to promote yourself on these channels as much as possible. The more exposure you give yourself, the more buzz will be created by people talking about you in social media. This buzz will attract new leads and new customers (and sales). You might even generate word-of-mouth advertising through social media if people talk about how much they love your products or services.
Creating a successful social media campaign: It’s easy to get confused when it comes to social media campaigns. What should you do and how can you do it?
Posting on social media sites on a daily basis. This will make sure that people know about your business and that they’ll be talking about it. Not posting is one of the worst mistakes a business can make with regard to their social media presence, in my opinion. So post as much as possible—daily if possible, weekly if not (but try). And don’t be shy about asking questions on Twitter or Facebook (if there is such a thing).
Finding new ways to promote your business. This is very important because you can’t just sit back and wait for business to come to you in social media. It doesn’t work that way. You have to constantly be looking for new opportunities to get the attention of the people who matter—and this means taking action each day. If you hesitate, then you’ll lose potential business because somebody else took advantage of your inaction.
Some people will tell you that they find new ways as they go along. I’ve never been big on this because there are so many opportunities out there every day. Understanding what it takes for social media campaigns to succeed. Does this mean that you have to know how everything works before you jump in, dig in, and start promoting on Twitter? No! But most people get scared the first time they go out there because they don’t understand how a lot of things work. This can be especially true when you’re starting out.